Об этом курсе
Throughout the world, writing serves to express, record and even create meaningful moments. In academic spaces, writing becomes the bridge between ourselves and the world of ideas. In this course, we provide practical insights into how to write an academic essay. We show you how to develop the academic skills needed to be a competent academic writer. You will have an opportunity to engage with texts written by academics, and to see how some of the ideas in these texts are used by students in constructing an academic essay. We address some of the challenges these students face with respect to academic writing and offer you the opportunity to practice and to develop your own writing style. For this course, we centre our lessons around a specific topic - the concept of identity, since it forms such an important feature of how we locate ourselves in an ever-changing global world. In other words, this course teaches academic writing skills through getting you to write and reflect on your understanding of identity. So if you are thinking about studying at a tertiary institution, or if you just want to brush up on your academic essay writing skills, this course is for you!
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Beginner Level

Начальный уровень

Clock

Прибл. 12 ч. на завершение

Предполагаемая нагрузка: 2-3 hours of study per week
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English

Субтитры: English
Globe

Только онлайн-курс

Начните сейчас и учитесь по собственному графику.
Beginner Level

Начальный уровень

Clock

Прибл. 12 ч. на завершение

Предполагаемая нагрузка: 2-3 hours of study per week
Comment Dots

English

Субтитры: English

Syllabus - What you will learn from this course

1

Section
Clock
5 hours to complete

Starting to write: Understanding definitions of identity

This week, we will consider practical aspects of academic writing, such as structure and the importance of defining key terms in an essay. The term we will focus on this week is identity. After hearing Kath Woodward’s ideas on identity, our three student writers, Ada, Ziggy, and Joey will write their own definitions of identity. Emphasising that writing is a process, we will give feedback on the students writers’ definitions. We will then provide you with the opportunity to draft your definition of identity, give feedback to other learners and receive feedback from them....
Reading
11 videos (Total 64 min), 5 readings, 4 quizzes
Video11 videos
About this course5m
Thinking about your essay6m
Meet our student writers5m
Through the looking glass: Who am I?5m
Woodward on identity: I, me and the world11m
Woodward on identity: Roots and routes12m
How do definitions work?3m
Definitions in context3m
Drafting your definition1m
Giving feedback on definitions4m
Reading5 readings
How this course works10m
Meet your instructors5m
Week 1: What to expect10m
Summary of Woodward's interview10m
Week 1 recommended readings10m
Quiz3 practice exercises
Is this course right for you?20m
Woodward Practice Quiz6m
Week 1 Graded Quiz8m

2

Section
Clock
3 hours to complete

Developing an argument: shifting identities

Week 2 further develops the concept of identity by considering the effects of mobility on one’s identity. Throughout history, as individuals moved across borders, they were either welcomed or perceived as an outsider or a threat. In South Africa during Apartheid, people within the country were further separated into ‘homelands’, and those who challenged the boundaries such as Nelson Mandela were labelled as criminals and terrorists. To help you formulate ideas on such concepts in your essay, we now consider the features of a good academic essay focusing on the introduction. We also introduce a three-part strategy to approach your readings: preview, overview and inview. The task for this week is drafting an introduction at university level. We identify key features of an introduction, then look at introductions written by our three student writers, and provide them with constructive feedback....
Reading
10 videos (Total 51 min), 3 readings, 4 quizzes
Video10 videos
Identity and mobility through the ages3m
Nelson Mandela: Terrorist or freedom fighter?3m
Reading strategies6m
Applying reading strategies: Sichone’s chapter4m
Applying reading strategies: Blommaert’s chapter7m
Understanding the course essay4m
Drafting your introduction6m
Giving feedback on introductions9m
Relationship between the introduction and conclusion2m
Reading3 readings
Week 2: What to expect10m
Required reading - Xenophobia by Owen Sichone10m
Required reading - Discourse by Blommaert10m
Quiz3 practice exercises
Sichone and Blommaert practice quiz4m
Week 2 practice quiz12m
Critique an introduction quiz10m

3

Section
Clock
4 hours to complete

Supporting the argument: situating identity within culture

This week begins with a discussion of culture and its relevance when individuals become mobile, moving between geographical and social contexts. We look at a case study of a student from the United Kingdom who comes to Johannesburg, South Africa. The case study helps us to think about who owns culture and how different or similar we are across contexts. Next, we consider Thornton’s arguments about culture. He argues against the view that there are many cultures and notes that there is only culture. Thornton considers culture as a resource to which people have different degrees of access. Some examples of cultural resources are clothes, money, beliefs, ideas. Individuals draw on these to construct their identity, but unequal access to these resources that are valued gives some people more possibilities to construct identities that are dominant and more valued. This creates a semblance of difference between groups of people. As people move across borders, these differences may become heightened, because some of the cultural resources that an individual carries with her, may cease to be relevant or may be seen as threatening. So, when supporting one’s argument about what happens to identity as individuals move across borders, it is important to delve into culture and how culture creates differences, how it may accentuate boundaries, and how these may or may not impact on identity. Writing paragraphs in support of one’s argument requires close attention to how the paragraphs link with the position, and with other ideas across the paragraphs. Hence, we offer practical guidelines on paragraphing, coherence and cohesion. We give an example of a well-written paragraph and analyse its form to see why it is good. We then review paragraphs submitted by our three student writers and note what is strong and what could be improved in each. We introduce the core aspects of referencing in essays. We also explain why referencing is an important part of academic writing when we are referring to different people’s views (or voices) and distinguishing these from our own. ...
Reading
12 videos (Total 62 min), 3 readings, 4 quizzes
Video12 videos
Case study of an international student1m
Pool of abundance: Understanding culture6m
Round table discussion on culture13m
Writing paragraphs3m
Quotes and paraphrasing3m
In-text referencing4m
Coherence and cohesion3m
Student writers drafting their paragraphs8m
Giving feedback on Ada’s paragraph5m
Giving feedback on Ziggy’s paragraph5m
Giving feedback on Joey's paragraphs3m
Reading3 readings
Week 3: What to expect10m
Required reading: Culture: A contemporary definition by Thornton10m
Cohesive devices - Linking words10m
Quiz3 practice exercises
Thornton Quiz8m
Week 3 practice quiz8m
Paragraph development quiz12m

4

Section
Clock
3 hours to complete

Starting to finish: writing the first draft

This week we sum up the ground we have covered in this course. The week is about crafting your final essay draft. We recap the building blocks of writing an academic essay, relooking at the features of an introduction, body, conclusion and the purposes of cohesion, coherence and referencing. We also consider and provide engaged feedback on the draft essays written by our three virtual students. There is detailed feedback on the strengths, improvements and opportunities for further improvement on the essays. The feedback is aligned with the core skills introduced in the course, such as writing the topic sentence, linking sentences and ensuring coherence and cohesion. Thereafter we sum up the course with a discussion on the ideas of the four thinkers you were introduced to in this course, namely Woodward, Sichone, Blommaert and Thornton. ...
Reading
8 videos (Total 46 min), 1 reading, 3 quizzes
Video8 videos
Round table discussion: Reflection on the readings14m
The essay building blocks5m
Referencing and managing sources5m
Giving feedback on Ziggy's draft7m
Giving feedback on Joey's draft3m
Giving feedback on Ada's draft3m
Looking forward2m
Reading1 readings
Week 4: What to expect10m
Quiz2 practice exercises
Week 4 practice quiz6m
Critique an essay12m
4.8

Top Reviews

By RWMay 31st 2018

it was very helpful with my writing skills my essay marks improved as I was able to apply what I learnt from the mooc

By NGApr 30th 2018

Excellent course. I have learned a lot. Thank you so much!

Instructors

Avatar

Gideon Nomdo

Lecturer
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Aditi Hunma

Lecturer

About University of Cape Town

The University of Cape Town is the oldest university in South Africa and is one of the leading research universities on the African continent. UCT has over 25 000 students, of whom 30% are postgraduate students. We offer degrees in six faculties: Commerce, Engineering & the Built Environment, Health Sciences, Humanities, Law, and Science. We pride ourself on our diverse student body, which reflects the many cultures and backgrounds of the region. We welcome international students and are currently home to thousands of international students from over 100 countries. UCT has a tradition of academic excellence that is respected world-wide and is privileged to have more than 30 A-rated researchers on our staff, all of whom are recognised as world leaders in their field. Our aim is to ensure that our research contributes to the public good through sharing knowledge for the benefit of society. Past students include five Nobel Laureates – Max Theiler, Alan Cormack, Sir Aaron Klug, Ralph Bunche and, most recently, J M Coetzee....

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